When Mike Urban (’11 Acct.,’16 MBA) earned his degrees with Washington State University Global Campus, he had no idea where his academic journey would take him. But his path would eventually lead to Pullman City Hall in the heart of Cougar country.
Originally from Mount Vernon, Washington, Urban was a business owner for 20 years, active in charity work and volunteer government in his local community.
“There was a point where I decided I wanted to start a new chapter in my life and pursue my education again,” he says.
Due to his packed schedule, finding a flexible online program was essential.
“As I looked for online programs, WSU stood out right away. Its reputation precedes it, and it’s very well respected,” says Urban. “The WSU Carson College of Business online degree programs were very impressive as well. There was really no comparison to the other online programs I looked into.”
Meeting Challenges Head On Proves Worthwhile
In 2008, Urban began his bachelor’s degree, majoring in accounting. He graduated cum laude and began a new career in accounting and finance. After a few years, he decided to tackle a second milestone and earn his online MBA.
“I learned a ton, and at times it was a challenge keeping up with school, work, and family,” says Urban. “But like a lot of things in life, it’s the challenging things that usually end up being the most worthwhile.”
According to Urban, he had a lot of help on his path to graduation.
“I couldn’t have done it without my family’s support,” says Urban. “I also owe a lot to my undergraduate advisor Chrisi Kincaid. She was there for me 100 percent, whether I had a question, needed advice about courses, or just general support and encouragement.”
In 2018, Urban was offered the opportunity of a lifetime — the finance and administrative services director position for the city of Pullman. He started work in January 2019.
Urban believes the knowledge and skills he gained at WSU played a significant part in being selected for the position.
“My education put me on a path to where I am today,” he says. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity WSU gave me and where it has led my career.”
At Pullman City Hall, Urban manages the city’s assets and ensures its financial health.
“I love the work, and I’m honored to serve the people of Pullman,” he says. “Even after just a few months, it really felt like home. I’m very happy to do my part in making it the best community it can be for residents.”
“The Coug nation embraces their own in a way I’ve never seen,” says Urban. “Around here, it’s all about community and supporting each other. It’s amazing to see, and I’m so glad to be a part of it.”